I found two not so shabby T-shirts to slice up. I did an easy Itajime Shibori "fold n' clamp" dyeing to create this nifty little number. Itajime is a traditional Japanese resist dye technique that uses wood blocks (or in my case, plexiglass discs) that are clamped on folded fabric to create all types of repeating patterns.
For extra detailing I did a wee bit of resist dye painting and added a dyed braided belt. Sweet!!
First off, remove the sleeves and cut across the neckline. I did a slight scoop from the top of the shoulder to just under the collar. This XL men's T-shirt had a hole just on the collar that I made sure to cut off. The rest of the shirt was in pretty good condition for second-hand fodder.
Next comes the folding. With Itajime, the fabric folds create the repeat of the pattern. Starting at the bottom of the T-shirt, I folded the entire shirt in 5" wide accordion folds. It's important to keep the folds flat and as equal as possible. If you have uneven folds or wrinkles caught in the clamping it will show in the final pattern.
When the shirt is all folded neatly, place one disc on the top and one underneath the folded shirt. In this way, the fabric is sandwiched between two discs. Line the discs up well and clamp them down in place.
For my pattern, I used two 4" discs and four 2" discs. From the picture you can see the discs on the top of the shirt. The others are sandwiched on the back of the shirt. This means that the front and the back of the shirt will have the same pattern. Double the fun!
Presoak the shirt in warm water for a few minutes and squeeze as much of the excess water as you can. I know it's a little tricky with the clamps.
Cover your work surface with plastic and grab some rubber gloves. It's time to hit the dye!
Shake, measure and mix Â½ cup of Rit Wine dye with 1 gallon of very hot 140Ëš water. I found that working right in my stainless steel kitchen sink was the perfect solution for this awkward, clamped assemblage. It just didn't fit in a bucket properly. So I stirred the dye bath well and immersed the presoaked fabric with discs and clamps. The immersion time in the dye bath was about 15 minutes. With a large spoon, I tried to separate the layers a bit to allow the dye to flow into those areas immediately surrounding the discs. Otherwise, those areas have a tendency to come out a tad lighter.
Remove from the dye bath and rinse in warm to cool water until water runs clear. Let dry.
Now, the Itajime worked great and I got a fun circular pattern on the front and back of the T-shirt but I wanted a bit more color so on to batiky dye-painting...
First, lay dry T-shirt on sheets of plastic wrap that have been overlapped so plastic is slightly larger than the shirt. Then slide some parchment or craft paper in between the front and back of the T-shirt. This will keep any resist or dye from bleeding thru the layers of the fabric.
Fill a fine-tipped applicator bottle with Batik EZ resist and draw any pattern you like and let dry fully.
I did just a simple grid pattern on my 4" circles. You can also brush, stamp or stencil with this water based resist. Whatever strikes your fancy!
Shake, measure and mix 1Tbsp of Rit Sunshine Orange dye with 1 cup of very hot water. Brush the hot dye over the resist in the 4" circles of the garment. I left a bit of a white halo around each orange circle for more contrast.
Then shake, measure and mix 1 Tbsp of Rit Lemon Yellow dye with 1 cup of very hot water. Brush the hot dye in the small 2" circles.
When the front of the shirt is painted, flip and paint the back in the same way.
Just a quick tip, always work with hot dye solution. If it cools while you're working, just reheat it in the microwave.
OK, when the dye-painting is finished, cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Seal the edges of the plastic and fold to fit in the microwave. Line the microwave with paper towels and place the plastic wrapped T-shirt inside.
Nuke on HIGH for 2 mins and let cool. Remove plastic and parchment. Rinse in warm to cool water until the water runs clear. Then wash with mild detergent, rinse and dry.
Now we need straps for our cutie beach cover-up. I happened to have a roll of cotton twill tape that's used for edge bindings and such. Cut a 7' length of the tape.
Shake, measure and mix 3 Tbsp of Rit Sunshine Orange with 1 quart of very hot water. Soak the tape for a few minutes and squeeze excess. Immerse into dye bath for about 5-7 minutes. Rinse in cool water until it runs clear. Wash in the same manner as above and let dry.
Then cut the tape in half for two 42" pieces. These are the two straps for the sundress/cover-up. One will be used for the front and one for the back and they'll tie at the shoulder for easy adjustments.
I didn't do much sewing to create the sundress. I just folded and pinned the raw edges around the arm holes and stitched for a clean edge.
For the neckline, I folded over the raw edge about 1" and stitched it to make a 1" casing to slide the strap thru. With a safety pin attached to one end, slide one strap thru the front casing of the dress and the other strap thru the back casing of the dress.
Scrunch the fabric in the front and back as much as you like for a cute gathered neckline. Then just tie the straps at the shoulders at the length of your choosing.
Basically, the dress is done. Throw it over your bathing suit and head for some sun!
For extra credit: Make an easy belted accent!
Cut a second Tshirt to make strips to braid. I had a L men's T-shirt with some icky stains that needing serious camouflage. With all the braiding I had in store, those spots will disappear fast.
First, cut off the bottom hem and discard. Then cut across the T-shirt to create 2" wide strips. You'll have loops at first but just snip open at one end for nice long strips. Make 6 strips all together. This jersey fabric is really stretchy and those strips will curl and stretch like crazy with the slightest tug.
Shake, measure and mix Â¼ cup of Rit Sunshine Orange with 2 quarts of very hot water. Soak the strips for a few minutes and squeeze excess. Immerse into dye bath for about 5-7 minutes. Rinse in cool water until it runs clear. Wash in the same manner as above and let dry.
Holding them together, measure 12" from one end and make a knot. Since there's 6 strands, braid in groups of two for 24" and make another knot. This leaves me with 12" inches of fringes on both ends. Depending on your T-shirt width, you might need to adjust your ratio of braid to fringe. Remember, you can always give this fabric an extra stretch to increase the length.